Kawhi Leonard pens letter thanking Spurs, Gregg Popovich

Kawhi Leonard pens letter thanking Spurs, Gregg Popovich

New Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard broke down his farewell to San Antonio and the Spurs into two words: "Thank you".

There have been multiple reports as to how Leonard received the trade to the Raptors, ranging from having no desire to play in Toronto to being excited about the move and potentially being open to to sticking around long-term.

In a "Thank You" letter, he expressed his gratitude to the city, its fans, the Spurs organization and to Gregg Popovich. The diagnosis and treatment of that injury seemed to drive a wedge between Leonard and the Spurs organization that led him to suggest a change of teams would be appropriate.

In a trade that sent shockwaves throughout the National Basketball Association, the Raptors acquired Leonard and three-point shooter Danny Green last month, while San Antonio received all-star DeMar DeRozan, backup centre Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.

Leonard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In 2014, Leonard led the Spurs to their fifth title against the Miami Heat.

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Leonard was effusive in his praise of the Spurs' fans, who watched him blossom into one of the game's premier two-way players over the first seven seasons of his career.

THANK YOU Pop I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance.

"There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio", he wrote.

"Through ups and downs - glad there were many more ups!"

Leonard is known as a very private and quiet athlete, but on Thursday he did release his first statement and while it's full of "thank you's" towards his former club, there's no mention about his new team.

"It's cool to see all the kids excited to hang out with us, and I'm excited to hang out with them", White said.

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